Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says he may be open to signing a high-profile crime bill if lawmakers agree to make changes next year, the Boston Globe reports. The bill approved by legislators last week would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, a Patrick priority, while making many repeat violent offenders ineligible for parole under a much-debated “three-strikes” provision.
“It's a good bill; it's not a great bill,” said Patrick. “There's a lot of work that has not yet been done, and I'm hoping that I can get a commitment from the leadership, a commitment to come back and do some of it at the beginning of the next session.” The law has drawn wide support among prosecutors, victims' families, and the Legislature, where lawmakers have responded to public outcry and are eager to look tough on crime during an election year. It has been heavily criticized by black and Hispanic lawmakers, who say it will add to an incarceration crisis in their communities.